The 90s SOTY line-up sucked, right? Well I hope Album of the Year from the earlier Reagan Decade (when I was born!) will be better.
The AOTY winners, with credited artists in parentheses.
1980 - 52nd Street (Billy Joel)
1981 - Christopher Cross (Christopher Cross)
1982 - Double Fantasy (John Lennon & Yoko Ono)
1983 - Toto IV (Toto)
1984 - Thriller (Michael Jackson)
1985 - Can't Slow Down (Lionel Ritchie)
1986 - No Jacket Required (Phil Collins)
1987 - Graceland (Paul Simon)
1988 - The Joshua Tree (U2)
1989 - Faith (George Michael)
*I'm reminded that I've actually never explored Billy Joel. Someday I'll give him and his immaculate driving record a chance.
*The problem with DOUBLE FANTASY, a good album mind you, is that you can't seperate it from its link to Lennon's murder since it casts a macabre shadow over it. His death, and the album selling incredibly well and I believe (if I remember correctly) three #1 hits from it, is why DF won that Grammy. We must remember that before he died, the album flopped in UK charts (but bubbling under the Top 10 in America) and got mixed reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. I'm kinda surprised that the touching and tragic "Beautiful Boy" wasn't considered for a single. Hit too close to home perhaps? I really liked some of the remixed tracks when the album was put out in a "Stripped Down" edition, especially "(Just Like) Starting Over."
Here's a controversial opinion that will annoy some Lennon fans: Alot of John's stuffin DF, and the subject material he was inspired by, it felt like he was making a Paul McCartney record in trying to make appealing songs. (And on that flipside, Paul's own New Wave/Electronica flavored MCCARTNEY II out that same year was for him an experimental sketchbook that reminds one of what John tried and experimented with in the late 60s/early 70s.)
*Cross beat Pink Floyd's THE WALL? Fuck. That.
*I think I'll vote THRILLER, I believe still the all-time best selling album ever. For that decade its kinda like SGT. PEPPER in that it's got a bulletproof reputation as a monster creature of its time that makes you by instinct revolt against it as overrated. Yet can you really go wrong with it? It's still a wonderful spin. Several great singles which are among the best and most well-known songs of the 80s, and probably among all of pop music. I admire how sonically married the whole album is together, even the weak corny as hell track like "The Girl is Mine" he did with McCartney (unbelievably the first single from THRILLER) fits in like a glove and not an awkward earsore as it probably should've been otherwise. I'm also fond of especially "P.Y.T.," which I like to think could've been a big hit itself if it had been written/produced in 60s Motown. (Supremes doing that? Definately.)
*On that note, Lionel Ritchie winning is where I especially take out my bullshit yellow penalty card. You know who what 2 nominees he beat that year? Bruce Springsteen's BORN IN THE U.S.A. and Prince's PURPLE RAIN. Both would've been much more superior and appropriate winners, and Prince of those 2 probably should've won considering he was having his own Michael Jackson/THRILLER phenomenon moment with RAIN. He was the first pop star since the Beatles to simultaneously have a #1 single, #1 album, and #1 movie. I'm certain a good portion of the Whitey voting Grammy bloc found Ritchie to be a gentler, more friendly alternative to His Royal Badness and talking about Darling Nikki masturbating in the hallway.
*Prince later that decade would again lose AOTY when his SIGN O THE TIMES (along with Jackson's BAD and Whitney Houston's WHITNEY) lost to JOSHUA TREE. I can't say I'm a U2 fan, but really that defeat doesn't bother me since JOSHUA TREE was pretty good. It deserves its rep. I would say the same for GRACELAND a year later. Those two are essential 80s records.
*On that last fan note of mine, Prince not getting nominated for 1999 is bullshit.
*I'm surprised lookingat the 80s AOTY nominees that Madonna wasn't nominated, not once. I would've thought she was.